More than two dozen students from across East Tennessee recently spent a week designing, building, and programming robots during the Oak Ridge Robotics Academy.
Held at ORAU’s Center for Science Education, the week-long, free camp was led by Instructors Tad Douce and Ed Goodwin, both co-directors of the National Robotics Challenge, with help from Kayla Canario, the 2011 Extreme Classroom Makeover contest runner-up and the technology coordinator for Bearden Middle School.
The 6th annual ORAU Oak Ridge Robotics Academy included 26 students in seventh, eighth, and ninth grades.
Students were randomly placed into teams and faced daily engineering challenges such as programming their robots to solve a maze without being controlled or designing an arm to pick up a tennis ball.
“We call it a robotics academy, but it’s really an engineering academy,” Douce said. “Our main goal is to get the students to work with others, think logically and solve problems.”
As part of the academy, participants visited Oak Ridge National Laboratory and witnessed large-scale applications of robotics and engineering technologies.
“I just think it’s cool that we can take wheels, motors, and nuts and bolts and can make a machine that moves on its own,” said first-time participant Josie Fellers, 12, from Robertsville Middle School. Fellers hopes to become a robotics designer/engineer and possibly work for ORNL.
The academy was one of various ORAU-sponsored or administered programs this summer designed to excite students about STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
For information on how to apply and other information, visit the Oak Ridge Robotics Academy website.
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